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Australian rugby player Israel Folau 'stands firm' over his anti-gay beliefs

Folau sparked outrage after saying gay people will go to Hell unless they repent to God

2018-05-03

Australian rugby player Israel Folau has revealed he "stands firm" over his anti-gay beliefs. 

The Waratahs player sparked outrage after saying gay people will go to Hell unless they repent to God in an Instagram comment.

Folau, 29, is set to make his return to rugby when the Waratahs take on competitor team Blues this Saturday (May 5) but has revealed he "stands firm" on his beliefs, the New Zealand Herald reports. 

Speaking to AAP, Folau said: "I stand firm in what I believe in and that's something personal with who I am. 

"That's something that comes truly from the bottom of my heart. That doesn't interfere with anything to do with my rugby and the guys around me.

"As team-mates, I'm still the same person and I try to bring that energy as best I can when I'm around the team and obviously going out and playing on the weekends doesn't change who I am. That's the most important thing that I've learned probably the last month." 

When asked whether the backlash has hurt him, Folau replied: "Absolutely not.

"I don't take anything personally. I understand everyone is entitled to their opinions and I've said what I've said in recent weeks. I leave it there.

"At the end of the day, you're an adult. You've got to clear those things up and you've got to look at what are the main things out of it.

"You can't hold grudges, you can't take anything personally. I've been fine with how everything's rolled out the last month.

"My focus is obviously on getting back out there on the field, which is an exciting time for me." 

Meanwhile, rugby player and former bobsledder Simon Dunn and referee Nigel Owens have been some of the stars to slam Folau over the homophobic comments.